Flying standby challenges!
Have you ever flown standby? I have once, but only because my original flight was cancelled. It was my only choice, and flying standby was something I ever thought I would choose to do! Yet, one year later, I was choosing just that!
The plan was to catch a flight from Santa Barbara to Chicago… Sounded easy enough. I’ve done it many times before, except I had an actual ticket in hand.
The alarm went off at 3:15am… I started my day with 3 hours of sleep! Woo Hoo! Off to a great start! After making sure I had everything, I headed outside to find my taxi waiting… Yes! The reservation I called in the night before actually worked. I was feeling good now!
I arrived 45 minutes before boarding time. Normally, I wouldn’t cut it that close, but Santa Barbara has a pretty small airport. When I got up to security, nobody was there! I was pretty surprised to find TSA hadn’t even opened yet. Apparently, the magic time for that is 4:45am!
Once, I made it through security, I headed to my gate. I was pleased to see, I was the only one on the flying standby list. I was feeling pretty confident that I was going to make it onto the plane… And, that’s when I heard they were waiting for fifteen passengers. TSA was moving slowly! Really? Perhaps they should have come earlier! I was there before TSA even opened! Arggg!
All of a sudden there was a group of people running frantically towards the gate. I started counting… Damn! All fifteen had made it. I was not getting on this flight! My next attempt was several hours away, so I went in search of caffeine and something to occupy my time.
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My next attempt was four hours later. I was more than ready to start traveling. Unfortunately, that next flight was jam packed… No room for me! The customer service agent told me the 2:00pm flight was wide open, however I would most likely end of stuck in LA! Wow! I could have got in my car, and done that myself on any of the freeways there!
Finally, she found room on a flight that had been delayed earlier. It was heading to San Francisco. I would be flying right into the storm known as the “Pineapple Express“! How exciting! Since that was my only chance of getting to Chicago, I said, “YES PLEASE”, and boarded the plane.
Once in the air, the pilot announced we would be flying through moderate turbulence due to the storm… Lovely! Luckily, I was exhausted and fell quickly to sleep. Most of the ride was smooth, and then it hit. Did he say moderate turbulence? I felt like I was at Disneyland up in the sky! And, there was what sounded like rocks pelting the plane. What was it? Rain? Hail? Oh God, maybe we were being attacked by aliens!
After getting a grip, I realized we were flying through the Pineapple Express storm!
Thankful to finally be on the ground in San Francisco, I ran to the next gate hoping to make my connection to Chicago. That went much smoother. There was plenty of room on the plane, and flying standby was not an issue!
I arrived five hours later than I originally thought I would. Considering all the delays, that wasn’t too bad. So, would I fly standby again? Sure! I’m ready for the next adventure! I could, however, do without the turbulence and storms!
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